Unfinished Business

Nantlle Ridge – 17-August-2011

The only time that I’ve had to make a ‘strategic retreat’ was when heading up Y Garn on the Nantlle Ridge in 2009. I was at Rhyd Ddu to be a SARDA dogsbody for the weekend, and reckoned that a quick trip to the top and back was possible before the worst of the weather hit. After being blown off my feet for the second time a couple of hundred meters below the summit, I turned and headed downhill to drip copiously on the floor of the Cwellyn Arms in front of an open fire.

But Wednesday was different – the weather was set fine, and the cloud was high above the top of Snowdon, with hardly any wind. The climb up Y Garn is pretty unrelenting, but once you’re up the fun begins. There are dizzyingly huge gullies in the face towards Mynydd Mawr, and the ridge itself stretches away to the south like a rocky roller-coaster, with views of the sea on the one side, and Snowdon and Yr Aran on the other.

And it’s quiet – on a gorgeous day in the middle of the August holidays I saw just one couple walking the ridge ahead of me. I caught them up as they stopped for lunch by the Obelisk on top of Mynydd Tal-y-Mignedd, and after chatting for a while I headed back over the narrow neck before dropping down to the path through the Beddgelert Forest. Yes, there are dusty bulldozed forest tracks here, but the route stays mainly off them, winding past an old mine and out onto the lower slopes of Y Garn and back across the boggy stepping stones by Llyn-y-gader to the car park.

The mix of wide grassy tops and rocky scrambles here seems unique in Wales. I’m looking forward to walking the rest of the ridge soon.

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